The corporate revolt shakes the political world


Companies such as Google, Coca-Cola and UPS have all pledged to suspend contributions across the board, while others have specifically addressed lawmakers they saw as complicit in President Donald Trump’s efforts to disrupt the certification of the election of Joe Biden.

” It’s extraordinary. It’s an American company that says, “Enough,” said Richard Levick, CEO of LEVICK, a Washington-based public relations firm. “Capitalism is trying to come to the rescue of a political system that has no answer” to Trump’s conduct.

Business PACs are big players in politics, accounting for more than $ 360 million in federal contributions during the 2020 cycle – with about 57% of the money going to GOP candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political donations.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Fred Wertheimer, who heads the Democracy 21 watchdog group, of the corporate retreat following the riot by pro-Trump supporters. “The key is: is it temporary or is it real? ”
“Doing this for two or three weeks, and after the heat subsides, going back to business as usual isn’t going to solve anybody’s problems,” he added.

Wertheimer and others in the campaign finance reform world have said the corporate review may provide the necessary impetus to revise election laws and focus them on small contributions. A measure put forward by Democrats, who will soon control both houses of Congress and the White House, would give federal candidates as much as a 6-to-1 match of public funds for small donations.

Democrats have become increasingly adept at attracting small dollar donations: In the 2020 election cycle alone, nearly 15 million grassroots donors donated $ 4.8 billion to Democratic groups and donors. applicants through the online fundraising platform ActBlue.

Other reformers on Monday criticized companies that chose to freeze donations to Republicans and Democrats – given that only Republicans voted against certifying Trump’s decisive loss in the White House.

“The announcements from these companies are nothing more than a publicity stunt – and bad news on top of that,” Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United, said in a statement. “There is only one party – and in particular 147 members of Congress – that instigated the violent and deadly assault on our Capitol,” she added.

At least one company, greeting card maker Hallmark, has demanded refunds, demanding that two GOP senators who opposed last week, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Roger Marshall of Kansas, return their PAC donations.

When announcing their decisions, many companies described their actions as temporary suspensions to review their political donations. The chemical company Dow, however, has promised a longer lasting punishment for those who backed Trump in Congress. He said he would cut donations to lawmakers who voted against certification of the election for the full two-year terms of affected MPs and six-year terms for senators.

More important than the money or the reimbursement demands is the message that American companies have delivered to Washington, said Michael Malbin, professor of political science at the University of Albany and expert in campaign money.

“It is a question that large organizations say they are disgusted,” he said. “It’s a public statement about what they believe is right and wrong. ”


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